Cheers for connected beer, all hail to the Internet of Ale

Cheers for connected beer, all hail to the Internet of Ale

Cheers for connected beer, all hail to the Internet of Ale
Image credit: gbbf.org.uk/press

Now that the Internet of Things (IoT) touches almost every industry, should we also be enjoying the Internet of Beer at the end of a hard-working, internet-connected day, asks Adrian Bridgwater?

After all, the industrial process improvements that the IoT delivers are already serving (no pun intended) the brewing industry – as seen, for example, at Great Lakes Brewing Company and Deschutes in the US.

This is an international trend, it seems, promising more IoT-driven change ahead. This month sees the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) staged at the  Olympia exhibition center in London, which showcases over 350 breweries offering close to 1,000 real ales and hard ciders (both apple and pear varieties).

The GBBF is run under the watchful eye of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, an independent volunteer organization. CAMRA seeks not only to champion and improve consumer rights, but also and improvements to premises throughout the brewing industry – and today, improvements in any business tend to mean involve a generous serving of digital transformation and technology.

Clever beer

Take, for example, London-based start-up Intelligent Layer: it has added machine learning to its beer production, in the form of what it calls ‘reinforcement learning’ algorithms.

The company has teamed up with a creative agency 10x to form a new joint operation called IntelligentX. Using a Facebook Messenger bot, IntelligentX collects feedback from customers on its products and sends it onto human brewers who tweak recipes accordingly, enabling them to test out new recipes and make product improvements.

The founders of IntelligentX think that, in the near future, we may be able to use data analytics, algorithmic logic, machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop and manufacture more ‘emotive products’ – such as perfume, coffee or chocolate – so that they are more finely tuned to people’s individual tastes.

Are these trends set to continue? The answer is a decisive ‘yes’. Smart ales and beers are flowing faster than ever.

As Barb Darrow reports for Fortune, business software companies Informatica and Zoomdata are collaborating to help a large, unnamed European beer maker check the quality of its products throughout the supply chain, from the brewery to the pub. “The software will monitor temperature and pressure of the beer in the tap and the line along with tracking the number of pints poured in real time,” she writes.

Read more: Barclays pours investment into new IoT beer pump

The four levels of Internet Beer

So it seems that the Internet of Beer is developing at a number of levels.

On a creative level, we can already see how new flavors might now be created through diversified, socially driven channels.

On a business level, brewers can now become more sensitive and attuned to market movements and consumer tastes.

On a technical level, contemporary young brewing startups can use the Cloud with its low capex (capital expenditure) model to get access to Internet of Beer tech fast and at a comparatively low cost.

Finally, on a practical level, connected IoT beer kegs mean that bar staff no longer have to strain their backs lifting flagons, firkins and other weighty vessels to test how much beer they still contain.

Cheers to connected beer, all hail to the Internet of Ale.

Read more: IoT on tap – Carling launches ‘beer button’